Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Review of Ferry Fares for Freight Carried by Trailers, Containers and Other Means

United Kingdom
United Kingdom Flag
Complete with results
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Waterborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Freight transport



To undertake research to provide evidence to inform the development of an overarching set of principles and charging procedures for the setting of fares for freight carried by trailers, containers and other means (excluding commercial vehicles) to be implemented across all Scottish Government directly subsidised ferry services. 


Funding Source
Transport Scotland


Types of Goods and Trends in Carriage
•Most non-CV (Commercial Vehicle) traffic is typically wheeled (particularly drop-trailers) and is very closely linked to conventional driver accompanied CVs.
•This again relates to the need for quick turnaround and the commensurate effort of moving non-wheeled freight from the ferry.
•The goods being conveyed are often no different and moved in similar quantities to CVs, but the solution is used to maximise the efficiency of road logistics.
•Exceptions to the dominance of wheeled non-CV traffic are on the smallest lifeline routes in countries like Ireland and the Netherlands.
•Determinants of Fare Structure
•Fares are typically defined by one or more limiting factors on the vessel (eg lane metres, weight, height, volume etc).
•Publicly supported operators typically use a single metric as the basis of the fare, whilst larger and more complex operators will use sophisticated matrices combining each of the above factors – rates are bespoke and tailored to the customer need.
•The most common determinant of fares is lane metres.
•Surcharges are common for CVs and non-CVs wider than a typical car deck lane.

What is included in the fare?
•Most ferry operators charge for quay-to-quay transport only.
•A small number of operators apply a handling charge for drop trailers, whilst others offer integrated door-to-door operations.
•The majority of commercial operators will include a Bunker Adjustment Factor (ie a fuel surcharge) as an itemised part of the fare.
•Volume discounts are common.
•Demand Management
•Numerous publicly supported and commercial operators make use of peak and shoulder-peak pricing to encourage CV and non-CV traffic onto quieter and / or dedicated freight sailings.
•Differences between Tendered and Commercial Services
•Tendered operators tend to offer a consistent and advertised tariff to customers, whereas commercial operators generally offer bespoke pricing to individual customers.
•Discounts on tendered networks are generally universal, whereas commercial firms make use of customer specific discounts, typically based on volume.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


Contribute! Submit your project

Do you wish to submit a project or a programme? Head over to the Contribute page, login and follow the process!